The big news of early 2020 has undoubtedly been the return of Jorge Lorenzo in the role of Yamaha test rider and, in a certain sense, as 'coach' to Rossi and Vinales.
We had a chat with Jorge on his arrival at the track (see HERE) but it was only to UK journalist Simon Patterson who he spoke to for a long time.
“We found the option of going to Petronas Yamaha and it was almost ready to sign – confessed the Majorcan to The Race – then the opportunity at Honda arrived and I couldn’t say no to them. One of every rider’s dreams is to race for Honda at least once in your life, and I was lucky that in three weeks I was able to have the chance to do what no rider did in history and win with three different bikes.”
Unfortunately, injuries prevented Jorge from realizing his dream.
“I was never competitive, I never got good results, and especially the injury at Assen helped make my decision for me. Without that, I would probably have stayed and tried another year (…) If I’m not able to win then I’m not happy, because the only thing that keeps me going in this profession is the possibility of winning.”
Just winning compensates, for Lorenzo, the negative aspects of MotoGP, starting with the travel, the pressure and the risk of getting hurt. But deciding to retire was not easy.
“I was suffering, and life is for enjoying, not suffering”
“I was suffering there, and life is for enjoying, not suffering – especially when you’ve won so much. I don’t have regrets, because there’s no sense to regret things that you can’t change. But there will always be the question of what would have happened if I had won one month before at Ducati. Probably we wouldn’t be here talking.”
Instead, we talked about it, even with Alberto Puig, Repsol Honda Team Principal, who was as surprised as everyone else (read HERE) to hear about Porfuera's decision to return as a test rider. A decision made almost immediately, thanks to the immediate interest of Lin Jarvis.
“Right now, Yamaha is the only team that has three riders that can win races and fight for the championship. Honda only has Marc for the moment, Suzuki only has Rins because Mir still has to score his first podium. Ducati maybe has three, but Yamaha has more chance to win with their three.”
It was strange to see Lorenzo at the side of Valentino Rossi in his garage, but it would be wrong to call them friends…
“I think the main reason that I’ve always had bad comments directed at me is because I’ve been racing against Valentino, especially after the polemic of Malaysia 2015. It’s very difficult to be friendly with a direct competitor, especially when we’re all killers in MotoGP. Marc is a killer, Valentino is a killer, I’m a killer; we all want to win. You don’t hate them, but you want them to go as slow as possible (…) Now our shared interest is to see Yamaha winning. Race again? In life you never know. After Valencia it was 99% no, and now it’s maybe 98%. I’ve got a lot of things I want to do, other projects and new things. Maybe in the future.”